Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another One In the Arsenal?

While I was visiting my aunt in New Orleans, I spent my days watching cooking shows and leafing through her cookbooks and magazines. She has a nice selection of the Cook's Illustrated special publications. In one of these, I found a recipe for a Cold Oven Pound Cake. Me being the lazy person I am decided not to copy the recipe then. I have a CI online membership. Surely, I'd look it up when I got home. So, um yeah, it's not on the website. It's a Cook's Country recipe.

Wouldn't you know it? I had a copy of the recipe anyway. It's in my America's Best Lost Recipes. Silly me. This book takes a slight departure from the regular CI formula. As the recipes are submitted by readers, there isn't the usual lengthy preamble for each recipe. This is the first time I've used a recipe from this book. I'm writing as it bakes, so we'll see how well it does.

I'm slightly worried because I had to violate a specific note in the book. You're supposed to use skim or 1% milk for this. For once, I only had 2% and whole. Oh well.

Let's get started, shall we?

The batter has four parts: wet, dry, fats and leavening. The dry is flour and salt. Wet is milk vanilla and egg yolks. Fats are butter and shortening (these are creamed with sugar). The leavening is egg whites! In a pound cake??! You'll see.

Whisk your flour and salt.

Cream the butter, sugar and shortening.

Whisk the egg yolks, milk and vanilla.

Now, beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. This is where having two mixing bowls for Old Faithful really pay off. Make sure your bowl and whisk attachment are impeccably clean. I wipe mine down with a little vinegar just to be sure.

Alternate adding the flour and liquid to the fat. Start and end with the flour. Mix each addition just until incorporated.

Here's the batter after the last addition. See the dry flour? Don't let the mixer run until it's fully incorporated. You run the danger of over mixing and creating a tough cake with tunnels in the crumb.

 Finish up by hand. Isn't that pretty?

Gently fold in your egg whites. The first batch I fold in are sacrificial; they get stirred into the batter. They are used to lighten the batter so that folding in the rest will be easier. The rest are folded. Here's the finished batter.

Move on to your prepared cake pan.

Move on to your cold oven.

Bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Increase temp to 325 and bake 45 more minutes. Nothing left to do now but wait (and clean up the kitchen).

The cake is done. I am disappointed in the crust, but I take 100% of the blame. I didn't use the right type of milk and I lowered the oven temperature by 15 degrees because my Bundt pan tends to cook quicker than the average pan. I'll go strictly by the book next time and update the post.

Here's the cake - cut into and enjoyed by some What's Cookin' Chicago Meetup members. The flavor was excellent. Just gotta nail the crust.

Tools of the Trade

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